Tips for Working Remotely & Remaining Successful
Not long ago, it was thought that only the tech-savvy could work remotely. Digital communication has improved immensely however, making remote working possible for more and more people.
Many companies are jumping on board too, allowing employees to take their job on the road.
The idea of working from home or becoming a digital nomad sounds like a dream. A flexible work-life balance and the ability to determine when, where, and how you work is an ideal lifestyle. But in reality, working remotely is just not for everyone. It takes more work than you realize to actually find suitable work with a steady income (if you choose the freelance route) and there are some things to consider before taking the leap.
In this article I will walk you through important questions you need to ask yourself, including:
- Why do you want to work remotely?
- To freelance or to stick with your company?
- Do you have what it takes technologically?
Know Why You Want to Work Remotely
Is This Remote Working Lifestyle Right for You?
Do you have the skills necessary to find remote work?
Reflect on your current position and day-to-day activities. Are your days structured or more fluid? Is your calendar filled with meetings or do you have a chunk of time to complete work? Is your work environment casual or more corporate?
One of the most important aspects to think about when you’re considering working remotely is whether or not you are a self-starter. It’s one thing having your boss right down the hall to keep you productive and another when you don’t have anyone watching you. With added distractions that come with working remote, it’ll be your job to determine the tasks that need to be done each day and set priorities when it comes to projects and requests.
Is Working Remotely Abroad Right for You?
Of course you don’t have to move abroad when you decide to work remotely. But, the digital nomad lifestyle is a dream for many who start to work remotely – although it does come with its own set of challenges.
For me, at least for the first few years that I was working remotely, one of the most exciting parts was having the freedom to live anywhere in the world.
Many countries will let you live within their borders without working there, as long as you can prove you have enough money to enter the country and live there.
If you want to work remotely abroad, find a country that suits you by looking into both the cost of living and the culture. One thing you may need to consider is the time zone. And even if your company is flexible with the hours you work or if you’re freelancing, do make sure you are able to hit those deadlines that match your clients’ due dates or be available for collaboration at the same time as your team. I’ve seen a lot of stressed digital nomads who had to take calls at midnight or at 5am!
But, decide for yourself whether working remotely abroad is really what you want. Yes, as long as you have access to WiFi and don’t miss any deadlines you can work remotely from anywhere. I have really enjoyed living and working in over a dozen countries for almost 10 years. But I now also see the benefits of having a home and I have experienced the stress and feeling of isolation that can come with the digital nomad lifestyle.
So you might decide to live out of a suitcase for the next decade and explore the world, or you might decide to use working remotely as a way to spend more time with friends and family. Just make sure you choose what fits you best.
If you do decide working remotely abroad is for you, check out these digital nomad guides:
- A Digital Nomad’s Guide to Bali, Indonesia
- Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, for Digital Nomads
- A Digital Nomad’s Guide to Medellin, Colombia
- Coliving & Coworking in Montenegro
- Interview With a Remote Worker Who Based Herself in Valencia, Spain
Decide Whether You Want to Be a Freelancer or Work Remotely with a Company
So you’ve come to the conclusion that working remotely is the life for you. Now you get to decide if you want to freelance or stick to a company.
Alternatively you can start your own online business, but since most remote workers start as freelancers or work for one company, I’ll focus on these two options here.
A freelancer works for different companies at different times rather than being permanently employed by one company. There are certainly pros and cons of each and I will break them down for you.
Pros of Freelancing:
- Freedom with a flexible schedule
- Choosing who you want to work with and for
- Unlimited earning potential
- No commute = no commuting costs
- Tackling a variety of projects and clients
Cons of Freelancing:
- Feeling isolated
- Inconsistent work and cash flow
- Juggling multiple clients with differing personalities/voices
- No paid time off or benefits
- Lack of structure
Sticking to a Company but Working Remotely
Pros of Working for a Company:
- Steady paycheck
- Colleagues and a boss to guide you
- Structure and consistency in schedule
- Paid time off and company benefits
Cons of Working for a Company:
- Limited earning potential (which is up to someone else)
- Subject to office politics, gossip, etc.
- Limited flexibility with schedule, hours, and maybe even location
- Lack of variety and potential boredom
- Lack of time, energy, and/or focus to pursue a passion project
As you can see, working remotely for a company has a similar amount of pros and cons as freelancing. I think one of the biggest upsets of sticking to a company is you may still be subject to collaboration at the same time as team members, meaning you need to be available when needed. In addition to this, you don’t have the freedom to tackle something you’re passionate about and need to stick to your assigned projects.
Freelancing gives you a lot of independence and is a popular way to work remotely. In the USA alone, in 2017, there were already about 57.3 million people doing freelance work. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean freelancing is for you. If you want the freedom of working remotely but still need a little structure in your life, you may choose to stick with a company.
Do You Have the Tools Necessary to Work Remotely From Anywhere?
So much of our work these days can be done online from anywhere using the cloud and digital collaboration tools. All it takes is a great WiFi connection.
One of my tips for working remotely is to make sure you set up all the tools it takes to be successful. First things first, buy a good laptop and find a powerful cloud storage for all your files. You are not working in an office anymore so it becomes more important that you are able to store everything safely in the cloud and have easy access to everything to be able to send files/assignments to your clients.
You’ll want to do everything you can to protect your data in the chance that devices are lost, stolen, or even hacked. A helpful security tip to consider is setting up a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) or mobile device management protocol to ringfence the company data from personal data.
You may also want to consider requiring strong passwords, time-out locking, certain company-provided anti-virus and protective software, and setting up protocols for reporting a lost device ASAP.
Also Read: How to Access Blocked Websites Abroad
Now you know what it takes to work remotely from anywhere in the world and the different options you have. Now you decide – will you freelance or stick with a company? Will you work from home or use your remote work to travel the world? Either way, reap the benefits of what it’s like to be able to work remotely from anywhere!
If you are interested in working remotely and digital nomad life, also read:
- 7 Skills That Will Help You Become a Digital Nomad
- What It’s Really Like to Move Country All the Time
- 7 Emotional Challenges of Digital Nomad Life & Solutions
- 10 Perfect Gift Ideas for Digital Nomads
- A Digital Nomad’s Guide to popular digital nomad destinations: Bali, Playa del Carmen and Medellin
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This article with tips for working remotely is a sponsored post for Dropbox. All opinions are my own. Dropbox is not affiliated with nor endorses any other products or services mentioned.